Cool Gear: Whats On TV?
Apple’s new multimedia player streams the photos, music and movies on your computer to the comfort of your living room
All the media we used to shelve around the house—photo albums, movies and music—are increasingly finding a home on our computers. It’s convenient to have everything stored digitally and in one place, but you probably spend a lot of time in front of your computer already, and wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy your photos and entertainment media in the living room instead of the office?
Apple’s new Apple TV, compatible with both Windows and Mac, makes it easy to access your media library wirelessly, without complicated setup or the expense of a media center computer.
It’s not a computer, per se. Rather, think of it as an iPod for your home theater. Apple TV cuts out most of the typical computing experience in favor of a simple, elegant solution for streaming the media stored on your computer wirelessly to your television.
Apple TV works with iTunes, which is a free application that runs on both Windows and Mac. Configuring Apple TV to work with your iTunes library is literally as easy as entering a five-digit code on your host computer. Setup took just a few minutes from start to finish.
The setup process forges a primary link with one iTunes library and syncs media from that library to Apple TV’s internal 40 GB hard drive. It also uses this space to store photos and slideshows that you’ve selected to sync. However, you’re not locked down to just that 40 GB capacity or even a single iTunes library. Apple TV can connect to more than one iTunes library as a source and can stream content from that source rather than storing it locally.
If your Apple TV will be located within a few feet of your host computer, you can connect the two via Ethernet. If such proximity isn’t possible, then the most important accessory for your Apple TV is your wireless network router. You can likely get away with an 802.11g Wi-Fi network, but to really take in the full media experience without hiccups, we recommend upgrading to a next-generation, 802.11n Wi-Fi router, such as Apple’s new AirPort Extreme.
We think Apple TV is an awesome product and a lot of fun. We were downloading movies and TV shows, streaming music and showing off our own slideshows in a matter of minutes. List Price: $299. Contact: Apple, (800) MY-APPLE, www.apple.com.